After all the talk, all the meetings, and all the voting, the DNR has released its official reponse to all the noise surrounding the earn-a-buck rule.
Below is the official release which can be found on the Wisconsin DNR website.
DNR Indefinitely Suspends Earn-a-Buck: Will work with hunters, farmers, foresters to develop alternative
News Release Published: April 23, 2009 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Adam Collins (608) 358-3629
MADISON – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (the Board) today adopted the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) recommended fall season structure for the 2009 deer hunt, which includes no Earn-a-Buck units outside of the CWD management zone and 40 fewer deer management units with the October antlerless hunt. Overall, the number of units set to have a regular deer season has increased by 180 percent from 2008. Earn-a-Buck will continue within the CWD management zone during the 2009 season.
The Board also passed a resolution indefinitely suspending Earn-a-Buck and directing the DNR to begin a new process to develop effective, hunter supported alternatives to the program. Units within the CWD zone, where disease management efforts are ongoing, will continue to have Earn-a-Buck until those herds are at goal or effective alternative management strategies are developed. The Board also reaffirmed the importance of achieving a good balance to support Wisconsin’s strong deer hunting tradition and a quality hunt while maintaining a healthy, sustainable deer herd and protecting agriculture, forestry and ecosystems.
DNR Secretary Matt Frank issued the following statement about the action of the Natural Resources Board:
“DNR and the Natural Resources Board hear hunter concerns regarding the 2008 fall deer hunt, DNR deer population estimates, state deer population goals, and Earn-a-Buck regulations. We are not only listening, we are taking action by indefinitely suspending Earn-a-Buck. Concerns have been raised in extensive hearings conducted by the DNR and the legislature throughout the state, as well as by the Conservation Congress and numerous conservation organizations. While we should not underestimate the challenge we face in developing effective alternatives to Earn-a-Buck that will control the deer population where it is over goal, the DNR is strongly committed to working with hunters, landowners and the public to do just that.”
“Beyond finding an alternative to Earn-A-Buck, we will be taking important additional action over the next year. We will review and revise the state’s deer population goals covering the next three years. Strong public input will be critical to that process. We will also review and make necessary improvements to our system for estimating the deer population, including how we measure the impact of winter severity, natural predators, and other factors.”
“We look forward to working with the Natural Resources Board, the Legislature, the Conservation Congress, hunters, landowners, conservation organizations on these important issues.”